VW Bus - Recommendations and Rationales?


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Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Dec 9, 2012 - 01:32pm PT

Exactly. Passed on burning on the side of I84 in the Gorge once and it was one of the hottest, most intense, fires I've ever experienced and that was through glass in a car passing thirty feet away from it. I was surprised that side of my car still had paint on it. I'm guessing in the course of the engine going up some somehow metals got ignited as parts of it were white hot in appearance.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Dec 9, 2012 - 02:31pm PT
Some older vw engines and some earlier Mag wheels had a unsubstantial amount of magnesium in the castings. Well, sparklers, the fireworks small kids are allowed to handle around the forth of July also have magnesium.

In the 60's some late night hippy country parties would put a mag VW engine block in a bond fire and eventually watch "the blue magnesium fire" explode. These quoted words are in some song of that era.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 14, 2014 - 04:01pm PT
So...after starting this thread a few years ago, we settled on an '86 Westy. Did a little work here and there, and we've used this thing dozens of times for camping and climbing just in the past year. It's been great.

Yesterday, on I-5, North of Seattle, one of the belts blew, and the other two blew, too (peer pressure), and dislocated a hose in the cooling system in the process. Didn't have any spare belts, like I would've in my '64 or '67, since there's only one in them, and the fix is a snap.

Gotta love AAA! They arranged for a tow of about 60 miles back to our mechanic, where they're replacing all the goods today.

My wife suggested we sit on the hillside above the freeway while we waited, and since the day was incredibly beautiful, we did.

Even with the predictable maintenance issues, I love these things!

My lovely wife, Liz, with the Westy down below.
My lovely wife, Liz, with the Westy down below.
Credit: mooser

Even on the back of a tow truck, she's a beaut.
Even on the back of a tow truck, she's a beaut.
Credit: mooser

Mountain climber
Apr 14, 2014 - 04:26pm PT
you can have my 74 westy for $50K and that is today.it comes with 1500 CC turbocharged mazda engine

next year I may ask for $60K

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Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Apr 14, 2014 - 05:51pm PT
Cool stories all...

Mooser, I'm happy for you that you have a significant other who can turn adversity into fun. Makes the trip through life a lot nicer!

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 14, 2014 - 08:10pm PT
Thanks, NutAgain. She's kind of awesome, actually. 34 years on April 5.

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Apr 14, 2014 - 09:03pm PT
Congrats on 34 ,mooser.

A friend once said ,"If you own a VW bus, and it runs ,you must be a hell of a mechanic".

Imho,it is no big deal,180k ,and few vehicles are as versatile.

Cheers ,Wilbeer.

Credit: wilbeer

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 14, 2014 - 09:55pm PT
Thanks, Wilbeer! And I get the happy VW owner/mechanic thing. Most stuff, I can do on the road. Didn't have the parts for this one, though. Something must've gotten kicked up into the engine compartment when I was driving yesterday, as it took out belts, dip stick tube, and two hoses. All good now. She's back home and purring like a kitten once again. By the way, your pic ^^^ just makes me happy.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 14, 2014 - 10:12pm PT
I really liked my Straight 87 vanagon better than Isa's 86 westy. More room for liveing. All them closets and the overhead take up so much space. i usually hit my head on the effin overhead closet at least two times a night. can be pretty funny if the vans a rockin;) There was so much room in this beast. the Cooler lived right behind the passenger front seat by the battery compartment. You could sit on the cooler and play guitar on a rainy day and there was pleanty of room for a 2nd guitar player sitting on the edge of the bed.
Isa doing homework on a snowy rest day, Seneca WV
Isa doing homework on a snowy rest day, Seneca WV
Credit: tradmanclimbs
the bed was so much bigger than a westy bed. you could sleep in all kinds of different directions and angles. Foot up against the kitchen counter gives good leverage;)

Boulder climber
Apr 15, 2014 - 12:05am PT
repost ...
Credit: T H

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Apr 15, 2014 - 11:38am PT
I miss my bus, all this VW talk makes me crazy and ready to do stupid things.

I miss my bus.. a bed one can drive anywhere.

Me in my Van.
Me in my Van.
Credit: guyman

and then pass out.


Trad climber
crack addict
Apr 15, 2014 - 01:17pm PT

Wow! I'll be double dipped. Someone actually listened to what I said (upthread) and bought what I suggested!!

And wait just a minute. You've been together for 34 years? How can that be? Were you married when she was 10?


Apr 16, 2014 - 10:51am PT
meh....they are great, sure, but you can get more room, more power, and more reliability in just about any other van for less money. I don't want to poo poo the thread, and I do absolutely love the many incarnations of the VW bus, but someone has to bring some damn sense to the conversation!

A good friend of mine has a very nice 72 westy he restored himself. Good thing because I wanted to burn that thing to the ground when it barely bubbled along for 1000 miles before finally stranding us in scarysville texas for 4 days.

The Granite State.
Apr 16, 2014 - 02:45pm PT
Wilbeer's VW is cherry. Really nice ride. I've got Westy envy.
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